We’ll drink to that!


As the warm weather shows little sign of relenting, the opportunities for retailers to maximise drinks sales this summer just keep piling up – and there’s plenty going on to keep consumers interested.

No categories benefit from warm weather quite like the drinks categories and with the remarkable temperatures of late showing no signs of abating, the opportunities for retailers to fill their boots just keep on coming.

Soft drinks continues to be one of the most profitable categories for convenience retailers, worth £2.2bn and growing at 2.7% [IRI, Feb 2018].

According to Adrian Troy, Marketing Director at Barr Soft Drinks, from June to August shoppers consume 26% more soft drinks [IRI 2017], with water, fruit drinks and other flavoured carbonates seeing the most benefit.  Retailers who adapt their ranges to reflect this range, particularly in the chiller, will benefit significantly.

Troy says: “To ensure the best performance from soft drinks, it’s crucial that retailers offer a wide selection of products to cater to a broad spectrum of consumer tastes.

Barr Soft Drinks is working with retailers to tap into trends with a growing portfolio of bestselling soft drinks brands that offer choice, quality and value, combined with pack and flavour innovation. Barr’s big-hitting portfolio includes Irn-Bru, the Barr Family range, Rubicon, Rockstar, Strathmore, Snapple and San Benedetto. Troy advises retailers to get behind these brands this summer to drive sales and profits.

Stowford goes local

Westons Cider has launched a new TV ad for Stowford Press as part of a major marketing push for the brand. ‘The Wonderfulness of Local’ campaign highlights the premium quality of Stowford Press cider, exemplified by the locally-sourced apples used to create it. It features comedian Ellie Taylor and adventurer Alastair Humphreys exploring the glorious countryside around Westons’ cider mill in Much Marcle, Herefordshire.

The TV ad, which has been produced in 60”, 30” and 10” edits, premieres during Channel 4 and ITV’s prime time Friday night schedules, to be followed by a 10-week campaign which adds further channels including Sky Media and BT Sport, and will deliver significant national coverage for the brand.

TV advertising will be supported by a programme of high-profile sponsorships, consumer PR, on-trade and in-store customer marketing, blogger activation and social media activity, all celebrating the wonderfulness of local and adding up to the biggest marketing package ever put behind Stowford Press.

One of the biggest recent trends of course has been a shift to healthier low and no sugar drinks, as Troy explains: “The world of soft drinks is changing with shopper demand for mid, low and no-sugar soft drinks growing. However, the overriding reasons why consumers choose a soft drink have remained constant –th great taste, flavour choice and the right pack formats.”

Troy adds, however, that there is still strong demand for regular soft drinks and says AG Barr has a responsibility towards these consumers to help them reduce their sugar intake.

“We have responded by introducing new and innovative mid-sugar regular products as well as low and zero sugar options across our key brands,” he says. “This means that 99% of our portfolio is now sugar levy free, while still delivering the great taste for which our brands are known.”

Fellow soft drinks giant Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is also helping retailers cash in this summer with the launch of its biggest ever Coke summer promotion.

CCE is offering consumers a summer of unforgettable experiences with a new Coke Summer campaign which will also feature across Sprite, Fanta and Dr Pepper for the first time.

From June 25 until August 26, consumers can enter codes printed on promotional packs of Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Sprite, Fanta and Dr Pepper (including zero and no sugar flavoured carbonate variants) and instant winners can choose from one of 10 once in a lifetime experiences, from whale watching in Iceland to a meditation trip in Italy.

With research showing that millennials increasingly value unique and personal experiences, the promotion is designed to help retailers appeal to this consumer group by linking the refreshing taste of Coca-Cola during the summer to the feeling of trying new experiences.

A new sun graphic inspired by the iconic Coca-Cola red disc and archive Coca-Cola summer imagery will feature on promotional packs, which will be available in a wide range of formats. This includes 250ml cans of Coca-Cola Classic, 330ml cans of Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, 2-ltr and 500ml bottles of the Coca-Cola portfolio, Fanta, Sprite and Dr Pepper and finally multipack cans across all of the above excluding Dr Pepper.

The campaign will be supported by marketing activity that includes TV, radio, social media, out-of-home advertising and instore activation.

Simon Harrison, Customer Marketing Director GB at Coca-Cola European Partners, said: “Summer is a key trading period for impulse categories such as soft drinks and a big opportunity for retailers to further drive sales. The aim of this year’s promotion is to connect with consumers that really value trying something new. The once-in-a-lifetime trips and experiences on offer will drive excitement amongst consumers, keeping soft drinks front of mind during the summer months.

“Our Coca-Cola summer campaigns have always been popular and our 2017 activity saw us achieve our highest ever on-pack redemption, with more than 1.5 million entries. We’re back again this year with an even bigger campaign extending across our sparkling portfolio, in line with research that shows consumers purchase more brands in the warmer months [Europanel].”

Try something new

Street Drinks from Barr’s

Barr Soft Drinks is enabling consumers to enjoy a whole new world of refreshment with the launch of Rubicon Street Drinks. The new range, from the UK’s No.1 exotic juice brand, features four unique flavours inspired by authentic street drinks from some of the world’s hottest places.

Launching in vibrant, eye-catching 330ml cans, the range includes Sharbat (pomegranate and rose), Aqua Fresca, (watermelon, lime and mint), Nimbu Pani (lemon, cumin and mint) and Bissap (hibiscus and ginger).

The launch is supported by a £2m brand investment.

WKD in cans

WKD, Scotland’s No.1 traditional RTD, has launching a range of cocktails in cans under the name WKD Mixed.  The 6% ABV pre-mixed cocktails are available in three flavours in 250ml cans: Cheeky V (port, Blue & lemonade flavour); Passionista (rum, Passion Fruit & lemonade flavour); and Oh Schnapp (peach schnapps, Berry & orange flavour).

All three cocktails are available in 12 x 250ml shrink-wrapped trade cases, with individual slimline cans having an RSP of £1.99.

Sanpellegrino flavoured tea

Sanpellegrino, the classic Italian sparkling fruit beverage brand from Nestlé Waters, has launched an organic sparkling flavoured tea range, Sanpellegrino + Tea, catering to the continued growth of shoppers seeking out a low or no sugar option and trading up to a more premium soft drinks choice.

The new lines include Limone + Tea and Pesca + Tea, made from organic tea extract, fruit juice and the lightest touch of cane sugar. The range contains only 50 calories per 250ml can and has no artificial colourings or preservatives.

Robinson’s Tropical

To celebrate Robinson’s position as the top squash in Symbols and Independents [IRI, May 2018], Britvic has launched Robinsons Tropical, an exclusive flavour to the wholesale channel in time for the summer and Wimbledon. Robinsons Tropical is price-marked at £1.49 to offer great value for money to shoppers.

Red Bull is also focusing on healthier alternatives this summer and beyond, as highlighted by Mark Bell, Strategy and Planning Manager at Red Bull UK: “As an active lifestyle brand, Red Bull understands the importance of offering health conscious consumers choice. As the number one single serve soft drink, worth £137.5m and growing +2.7% [IRI, Jan 2018], Red Bull Energy 250ml is a must stock for retailers planning their soft drinks offering. However, alongside Energy, customers are increasingly seeking sugarfree alternatives. Growing at 7.1% to £31.9m, Red Bull Sugar Free 250ml is the number one low kcal sports and energy drink in the UK [IRI, Jan 2018].

“With the heightened importance placed on the health agenda over the past year and the Soft Drinks Industry Levy in place, consumers are swaying more towards sugarfree options. Therefore it is imperative that retailers offer a low kcal alternative – meaning that a higher proportion of space is being dedicated to low kcal products. Diet is worth £144m, which equates to 11.3% of the sports and energy category, increasing by 1.7% from last year [IRI, Jan 2018]. Growing at 7% to £31.9m, Red Bull Sugarfree 250ml is the number one low kcal sports and energy drink.

Red Bull recommends that retailers rationalise their range to focus on the key SKUs, providing them with the right amount of space on shelf to drive growth and maximise sales. Within Energy, sizes are driving category growth, with core continuing to contribute significantly to share. However, currently both core and sizes are under-represented on shelf vs. share of sales.  Red Bull Sugarfree is available in three pack sizes – 250ml, 355ml and 473ml, meeting this demand for sizes.